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It’s Just A Grassy Field With Numbers, But Each Number Hides A Life Story

It looks like an ordinary field, quiet and grassy. But look closer.

There are little numbered markers all over the place.


It turns out this field is the final resting place for over 5,000 people treated for mental illness. Each number is the grave of a patient whose name is lost. For now.

Retired schoolteacher Colleen Spellecy plans to change this.

You think mental illness has a stigma now? It used to be even worse.

The disdain people used to have for the mentally ill was so great that privacy laws were written to protect patients' families from the shame. That's why there are no names here, just numbers.

But these patients were living people, and in Spellecy's mission to uncover their identities and stories, she's run into a weird problem. New York State doesn't want to reveal the name that goes with each number because those ancient privacy laws still apply to the patients even after death. It's like an old rusty door that just can't be pulled open.


This a troubling example of how attitudes change, what happens when laws are written based on current opinions, and how our prejudices can cruelly haunt us for a very, very long time.

Here's the story of the mission to rescue these missing people from eternity.

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From the time she was a little girl, Abby Recker loved helping people. Her parents kept her stocked up with first-aid supplies so she could spend hours playing with her dolls, making up stories of ballet injuries and carefully wrapping “broken” arms and legs.

Recker fondly describes her hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a simple place where people are kind to one another. There’s even a term for it—“Iowa nice”—describing an overall sense of agreeableness and emotional trust shown by people who are otherwise strangers.

Abby | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Driven by passion and the encouragement of her parents, Recker attended nursing school, graduating just one year before the unthinkable happened: a global pandemic. One year into her career as an emergency and labor and delivery nurse, everything she thought she knew about the medical field got turned upside down. That period of time was tough on everyone, and Nurse Recker was no exception.

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The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $44 a night each. The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.

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It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

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We're dancing along too.

Art can be a powerful unifier. With just the right lyric, image or word, great art can soften those hard lines that divide us, helping us to remember the immense value of human connection and compassion.

This is certainly the case with “Pasoori,” a Pakistani pop song that has not only become an international hit, it’s managed to bring the long divided peoples of India and Pakistan together in the name of love. Or at least in the name of good music.
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A couple enjoying a glass of wine.

In the 1988 Disney classic “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” the titular character is in an unlikely relationship with his voluptuous wife Jessica. Roger is a frantic, anxious rabbit with a penchant for mischief, while Jessica is a quintessential ’40s bombshell who stands about a foot and a half taller and isn’t “bad,” just “drawn that way.”

When private investigator Eddie Valiant asked Jessica what she sees in “that guy?” she replies, “He makes me laugh.”

This type of couple may seem like something we only see in the movies, but don’t underestimate the power of humor when it comes to attractiveness. A new study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that being humorous is the most effective way to flirt for both men and women.

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